Texas Tech University

In Memoriam

On June 19, 2012, the Lubbock community and the Women's & Gender Studies lost a long time supporter and advocate, Freda McVay. Freda was best known for her work as the editor for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal (Family News Editor), high school journalism teacher, and faculty in Journalism here at Texas Tech. She was the information representative for the Texas Tech University Department of Public Information (now UNP) from 1962 to 1964, doing press releases for area and state media, including radio and television news. Freda became the women's editor for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in 1964 and was named the family news editor (now the Vista section) in 1968. She covered personally, and directed the coverage of, a variety of in-depth and investigative public affairs stories relating to general family problems, such as drug abuse, juvenile detention facilities, abortion, teenage runaways, and the city-run animal shelter. From 1975 to 1979, Freda covered special assignments and political reporting for the Hockley County Free Press while teaching journalism and photography classes at Levelland High School and working on her master's degree at Texas Tech. During this time, she also served as sports editor and feature writer, as well as interim editor-in-chief on two different occasions. Freda was appointed to full-time journalism faculty at Texas Tech in August, 1979, after completing her master's degree. Her teaching experience includes conducting classes in beginning reporting, graduate reporting seminars, magazine writing advanced reporting, journalism for high school teachers, principles of journalism, history of American journalism, writing for the mass media, and editing. She also taught several shortcourses and workshops in news writing for area news professionals, and media workshops for community organizations. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Gwen Sorell Scholarship Endowment. For donation information go to our "Giving" page here.

freda mcvay

On May 12, 2012, Women's Studies lost a good friend, Sandy River. Sandy served as our library liaison, a member of the Women's Studies Advisory Board and provided countless other small and large acts of support and encouragement that will be sorely missed by all of us in Women's Studies. A memorial service will be held in the future, but as yet no date has been set. Watch the Women's Studies web site for more information to come. - Dr. Charlotte Dunham, Director, Women's & Gender Studies

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Sandy was active in professional organizations at teh state and national level. Her honors include the Association of College and Research Libraries Women's Studies Section Career Achievement Award in 2007. She was selected as a Texas Library Association Tall Texan (Texas Accelerated Library Leadership Institute) in 1998. Sandy had a distinguished career of service to Texas Tech. She was active in the Women's Studies Council and Advisory Committee; she served in the Faculty Senate (1995 - 1998, 2007-2012), including terms as President and Parliamentarian. Sandy had recently been elected as Faculty Senate Secretary for 2012-2013.

  • View the hard work and dediction that Sandy put into supporting the Women's & Gender Studies through library resouces. Read more...
  • Sandy was active in professional organizations at the state and national level. Read more...
  • Memorial was held on Friday, October 12th in the Kent Hance Memorial Chapel. The Chapel is located off 17th St. & University Ave. near the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center
  • An endowment fund has been established in honor and memory of our friend collegue, Sandy River. The Sandy River Memorial Endowment will provide assistance to a student at Texas Tech. Funding, which will be determined by donations, may vary annually. With your support and generosity, Sandy and her passion for the University and its students indefinitely. To donate to this scholarship go to: https://donate.give2tech.com/onlineGiving/landing.do and use the search box or the A-Z Fund Index.


Former Director of the Women's Studies Program, Dr. Gwen Sorell, passed away Monday, March 23rd, 2009 after a courageous battle with cancer. The Women's Studies Program at Texas Tech University would not be what it is today if it were not for the hard work and dediction of Gwen. She was named Coordinator of the Program in 1989, when the Program moved into the Office of the Provost. As the Program grew under her leadership, her title was changed to Director in 1998. Her guidance and wisdom will be greatly missed, but her intelligence, accomplishments and goodness will continue to be celebrated by the Women's Studies Program.

In her honor and in lieu of flowers, Sorell's family has asked donations be made to the Gwen Sorell Scholarship Endowment in the Women's Studies fund. It was established in her honor in 2004, when she stepped down as the director of the program. For donation information go to our "Giving" page here.

Avalanche Journal article

gwen sorell